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Bernero missed opportunities; both candidates were meatless

Mr. Snyder did what he needed to do. Mr. Bernero did, too, but whiffed on several home-run opportunities that could have made him the clear winner in the only debate of the fall campaign for governor.

You could hear the cheering in the GOP camp as their guy, the nerd, held his own, did not get trapped into an argument with his opponent, stayed on message and did not make a major gaff. As a famous Republican once said, “Mission Accomplished.”
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Mr. Bernero, on the other hand, started very strong in his opening statement by raising a new “China” issue and throughout the debate he correctly and pointedly drew a strong contrast: I’m for you, the little guy, cause I’m one, too and he’s for the rich and the people at the top. Ditto on the mission thing.

But the Democratic challenger had several chances to do more but didn’t which denied him the mantle as the clear winner.

Missed Opportunity One: Home foreclosures.

Bernero owns this issue but he did not frame his answer to let the audience in on the secret.

Last week, Bernero forcefully called on the banking industry to cut homeowners a little slack when it comes to kicking them out of their homes. The very next day, the largest bank in the state did exactly what Mr. Benrero wanted, but he never made the connection.

He could have said, “Earlier I called on the banking industry to back off on their foreclosures and, the next day, the Bank of American did just that. That, my friends, is what leadership is all about.”
Missed Opportunity Two: The experience thing.

Both candidates were asked about how they would handle the politics of Lansing. Mr. Snyder has zero hands-on experience but is darn proud of it and his “I’m not a career politician” is part of the reason why he is ahead.

Bernero could have acknowledged that point but should have made the case for why experience does count in Lansing by saying, “My opponent thinks he can show up at the Capitol and pull his CEO stuff with lawmakers. Folks, they will eat him alive. I’ve been there, I won’t be consumed by partisan politics. Unlike my opponent, I know how to make a deal to move Michigan forward. And if you want proof that experience does count, the current governor concedes she lacked the legislative experience to make things work. So why would we want four more years of that?

Another element that took a beating in this debate was how the two candidates got away with spewing broad generalities. Where in the heck was the beef on what they were going to do?

Mr. Snyder noted on fixing the schools that we had to “measure success.”

Mr. Bernero was equally as vague: “Saving the schools is in the minds of the kids.”

Or on helping Detroit. Each gave a ringing endorsement of saving Motown but, Snyder’s remedy was to be a “partner” and “to pay attention to cities.” But what would you do? What would it cost and who would pay for it?

Try to find those specifics in any of his overly broad answers.

Mr. Benrero on eliminating the deficit, “I did that in Lansing.” Yeah, but give us some specifics on where you would cut if you were governor. Snyder sidestepped that as well.

Voters deserve more meat on the bones, but they went hungry last Sunday night.

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